Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Housebound: Grounded in New Zealand
Bucknell is in for the mother of all grounding. She is a bad kid, but she
discovers there is something downright evil lurking about her mother’s home.
Unfortunately, that is where she must serve her sentence of court-mandated house
arrest in writer-director-editor Gerard Johnstone’s Housebound (trailer
opens this Friday in select cities.
fell in with the criminal element at its dumbest. After her last escapade, she and
her ankle bracelet have been confined to her estranged mother’s house. Miriam
Bucknell always told her it was a former bed & breakfast, but as things
start going bump in the night, she soon discovers it had been a halfway house
for disturbed youths that was shuttered after some sort of ominous scandal.
she in fact being haunted? To answer this question, she enlists the help of
Amos, the security contractor monitoring her bracelet signal, who conveniently
lives in the neighborhood. At first, he is a willing accomplice, but they soon
encounter more mayhem than he bargained for.
there is nothing awe-inspiringly original about Housebound, its horror movie mechanics are uncommonly good. Johnstone
dexterously juggles a succession of clever red herrings and shows a knack for
attitude-heavy Kevin Williamson-esque dialogue. It is not compulsively jokey,
but there is humor in all the appropriate spots. Nor is it as gory as horror
fans might expect, but it still pushes all the right buttons.
real key to the film is evolving rapport between Morgana O’Reilly and Glen-Paul
Waru, as Bucknell and Amos, respectively. Their bickering has an edge but it is
not overwritten. It is also a relatively fresh basis for cinematic relationship
on paper that works quite well in practice. Frankly, they seem to bring out the
best in each other, because O’Reilly’s scenes with her mother and head-shrinker
do not have the same zip. However, Ross Harper has some nice moments with her
as the taciturn step-dad, Graeme.
with Danny Mulheron’s Fresh Meat, Housebound proves New Zealand should
hold more interest for genre fans beyond providing the backdrop for Peter
Jackson’s Tolkien movies. Although not as pure “horror” as it sounds, Housebound provides a nifty macabre fix.
Recommended rather enthusiastically for cult movie patrons, Housebound opens this Friday (10/17) in
Labels: Horror Movies, New Zealand cinema